What are the key challenges currently faced by pharma companies and CROs in the clinical trial arena?

Pharma companies and CROs play a key role in the patient screening, recruitment, retention, and management of clinical trials with cutting-edge innovation. But these firms face many difficulties when it comes to driving pivotal business operations with digital technologies.  Here are a few key challenges that a healthcare firm faces –

  • Not connecting with the right patients – Finding the right set of patients is the most pivotal piece of the puzzle when it comes to the execution of a clinical trial. With so many inclusion and exclusion criteria, it is extremely challenging to identify and connect with suitable patients for a clinical trial.
  • Slow & low recruitment –Many clinical trials have been terminated because they fail to onboard enough participants. Clinical trial timelines have potentially doubled because of slow recruitment rates.
  • Lack of streamlined & well-governed clinical trial process – With the ever-increasing complexity of clinical research, the lack of a streamlined clinical trial process adds an unwanted burden on the already occupied physicians.  Moreover, insufficient administrative support for paperwork, clerical activities, data management, etc. takes time away from the physicians resulting in skyrocketing costs of clinical trials.
  • Complex regulatory requirements – Meeting numerous regulatory requirements at all stages of a clinical trial is one of the most critical challenges of executing clinical trials. Furthermore, regulations can vary across geographies.
  • Low patient retention – According to an article published by a credible life sciences journal , BioPharma Dive, 80% of clinical trials are delayed due to recruitment problems and high dropout rates. A few vital factors contributing to high patient dropout rates are that  frequent testing and the number of clinic visits required.
What are decentralized clinical trials?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines decentralized clinical trials as “those executed through telemedicine and mobile/local healthcare providers, using processes and technologies that differ from the traditional clinical trial model.”

Generally, decentralized clinical trials are executed remotely instead of at a site facility, with patients remaining at home during most of the clinical trial. During these trials, patient interactions with sites take place virtually leveraging software and connected devices.

According to a recent article published by McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual clinical trials while highlighting the pivotal business benefits of decentralized clinical trials and enhancing the  patient and physician experience. Clinical-trial investigators expect a threefold increase in remote patient interactions  post-pandemic. An exhibit from the same article is presented below –

The same McKinsey article also suggests that clinical-trial sponsors are building hybrid protocols that draw from the menu of decentralization services and technology interventions, such as remote vital monitoring, mobile clinics, and home visits .

How can a comprehensive decentralized clinical trial platform enable pharma companies & CROs to resolve the challenges we discussed above?

In the clinical trial market riddled with fierce competition, increasingly complex regulations, and high patient dropout, a data-driven and automated decentralized clinical trial platform can enable a firm to gain a competitive edge over others. Here are a few key benefits of a comprehensive decentralized clinical trial platform that significantly addresses the aforementioned challenges faced by CROs and pharma companies.

  • Effective targeting strategy – A comprehensive decentralized clinical trial platform exploits patient data ingested into the platform from multiple sources to devise a highly accurate and effective targeting strategy. Higher targeting efficacy results in the accurate identification of the right set of patients for a clinical trial.
  • Increased and accelerated patient recruitment – A blog on healthcare marketing statistics published by Invoca suggests that 94% of patients utilize online reviews to evaluate healthcare providers and healthcare digital advertising spend accounted for 46% of all healthcare ad spending last year. An exhibit from the same blog is presented below –

These facts indicate that omnichannel patient engagement is the next chapter of healthcare and life sciences marketing. A decentralized clinical trial platform offers seamless and personalized omnichannel patient experience and quickly conduct multiple digital campaigns to make accurately targeted patients aware of a clinical trial in depth. It leads to an increased and accelerated patient recruitment rate.

  • Enhanced patient engagement – Comprehensive decentralized clinical trial platform reduces the need of clinic visits drastically harnessing various media vehicles including phone calls, email, video conferencing platforms, and social media platforms. It provides pharma companies and CROs an unparallel advantage of offering high-value self-service capabilities to enrolled patients including daily symptom check, notifications for follow-up site visits and follow-up lab investigations, tracking clinical trial progress, gamification etc. These capabilities will greatly personalize and enhance patient engagement, leading to high patient retention.
  • Reduced clinical trial expense – Decentralized clinical trial platform streamlines and intelligently automate clinical trial process exploiting levers of digital transformation such as cloud, analytics, IoT, automation etc. It will boost take away a lot of administrative burden from physicians, leading to high physician productivity and reduced clinical trial expense.
Persistent’s ‘Patient Care NXT’ Platform can highly accelerate your journey to build a comprehensive patient care platform

With 20+ years of experience applying cutting-edge technologies in the life sciences industry, Persistent is a leader in driving transformational with industry leaders in the clinical trial arena. Persistent’s ‘Patient Care NXT’ Platform can enable CROs and pharma customers to harness the power of Microsoft Cloud for a Healthcare-driven Ecosystem, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Microsoft 365, and Azure to improve patient engagement throughout the trial, increase the operational efficiency of the clinical trial process, and to achieve highly enhanced patient satisfaction, thereby delivering patient-centered decentralized clinical trial.

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